BEIJING -- The closing of six-nation talks on North Korea's nuclear program was postponed today because of "technical reasons," the Chinese government said amid reports that the North was demanding last-minute revisions to a joint statement.
The Chinese government's Xinhua News Agency did not say how long the postponement would be. But nearly an hour after the scheduled 11 a.m. (10 p.m. EST yesterday) start of the closing ceremonies, the agency said the six nations' deputy delegates were still meeting.
Kyodo News, a Japanese news agency, said North Korea had urged a "last-minute revision" to a joint statement by all six countries working to resolve the dispute over its nuclear program. It said China was working to "persuade North Korea" to accept the statement.
South Korea's Yonhap News Agency reported from Beijing that the North was insisting on "including a certain clause in a joint press statement." It cited an unidentified diplomatic source.
The US Embassy in Beijing and the North Koreans had no immediate comment. Yonhap reported last night that a tentative agreement had been reached among the delegates from the six countries to meet again by April 30 and, meanwhile, convene working groups at a lower level.The countries -- the Koreas, United States, China, Japan, and Russia -- are trying for the second time in Beijing to resolve a 16-month dispute between Washington and Pyongyang. The United States says the North must end its nuclear program; the North wants aid and security guarantees.